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15 Keys to Preaching Clarity

Peter Mead more from this author »

BiblicalPreaching.net

Date Published: 5/9/2012
As a preacher, you're representing a God who made His book understandable, so it's important that you preach with clarity. In this article, Peter Mead offers 15 ways to do just that.

Recently, I've been writing about the doctrine of Biblical clarity—the fact that the Bible may be understood. This is a cause for great rejoicing. Imagine for a moment that the Bible were absolutely impregnable. Preachers are representing a God who made His book understandable, so we should model a passion for clarity in our communication.

Let’s have a rapid-fire list of factors that influence our clarity in preaching.  I’ll start, you finish:
 
1. Voice. If it isn’t loud enough and distinct enough, it isn’t clear enough.
 
2. Vocab.  Don’t try to impress; try to communicate.  Jargon doesn’t help; good word choice does.
 
3. Preaching Text.  If you stay in your text as much as possible, it should be easier to follow.
 
4. Structure. A memorable outline remembers itself. There’s no need to be clever. Be clear.
 
5. Main Idea. One controlling, dominant thought distilled from the passage is critical for clarity.
 
6. Unity. Let every element of the message serve the main idea—nothing extraneous.
 
7. Order. Take the most straightforward path through the message so others can follow.
 
8. Transitions. Slow down through the turns or you’ll lose the passengers.
 
9. Pace. Sometimes you really need to take the foot off the pedal to keep people with you.
 
10. Visual Consistency.  Keep your gestures and scene “locations” consistent to reinforce well.
 
11. Verbal Consistency.  Let key terms rain down through the message. Don’t be a thesaurus. 
 
12. Restatement. Restate key sentences in different words. It's less patronizing, but helps clarity.
 
13. Illustrative Relevance.  Be sure illustrative materials have a clear connection to the message.
 
14. Flashback and Preview.  Whenever appropriate, review and preview at transitions.
 
15. Pray.  Pray for message clarity during preparation. God cares about this!
 
That’s a start. What would you add?

Peter Mead

Peter Mead is involved in church leadership at an independent Bible church in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at BiblicalPreaching.net.

Really appreciate these thoughts and will take them to heart. You're never too old to learn! [delete comment]
Good advice and well put [delete comment]
Bomohan Etwaru
May 10, 2012
Yes, Sir! It could not be put in better words. Thanks for putting so precisely. [delete comment]
Great, concise points. 15 points may be long, but you followed your own advice on clarity. Thank you. [delete comment]
Pastor Herbert W. Roshell
May 9, 2012
Well said and easy to follow! Just about covered everything. Focus: Focus on the message and not the people (there faces), as Paul tells Peter. One miss read face expression, can change the whole message. Thanks for the awesome read and helpful points. [delete comment]
Keith B
May 9, 2012
Good article. I enjoy Mead's writing. Wish all of Sermon Central's articles were as good. [delete comment]

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